How I Convinced My Company To Use Joomla CMS

I wonder where have all the good web programmers gone? The company’s website loads even slower than my blog. Making it worse, it’s created using plain HTML. Being a pro-active person, I just can’t sit around and not do anything with all that I’ve learned. Armed with my short period of WordPress experience, I suggested my company to adopt an open source web content management system (CMS). The reason for that is that we can save up a lot of time in developing the company’s website and focus more on creating the content, that is what I think visitors would always want in finding out more about the company. Read “What is a CMS & why should you care?“, a very enlightening article.

So, the initial phase of the website development was discussed in a meeting and it was decided on my suggestion to adopt WordPress for the website since my experience with WordPress is quite extensive. 2 weeks had gone by and I later found out that my web designer wasn’t able to customize the layout template without me guiding her through. Her designing skills kind of amazes me since she has some artistic view but technically, she barely knew how the system work. I couldn’t blame her for that because it took me months to figure out how WordPress work. I knew I was in trouble because the development process is way behind schedule. I then took a brave move, I tried Joomla instead.

Quite a while ago, after I have used WordPress (at that time version 1.5 I guess), I tried out Mamboserver. Although I really like how the system can create useful portals, I find it difficult to understand how the system work. After a while, I made a quit on it and return to use WordPress. Since Joomla is a derivative of Mamboserver, I had no issue on installing the package. The only issue was to try and understand how to use the system and how I could apply the portal for the company use. I was left with little time to do that. I then spent half a day figure out how the settings are and used a basic template layout which I think may suite the portal design.

The next day, my big boss suddenly came over and wanted to know how the development is going on. Lucky for me, I had a mock up already being built so I showed it to him and pitched the idea of how the portal is going to be used. He was sold on my idea and we decided to ditch WordPress and develop a portal using Joomla. I got only a week to develop the portal prototype and present the portal for the management to see. I quickly called my web designer, briefed her on my new idea, guided her through the administration area in Joomla and asked her to create 3 customized template for the presentation. At that time, I was also swamped with the tender document submission I went to during my first week there. It was a hectic moment.

My web designer and I made it in time for the presentation. We presented our prototype to the management, got some new feedback and we were given another week to complete the layout and the portal should be online and replacing the current website by the 1st of October. For me, I’ve handle numerous WordPress website before so it shouldn’t be problem. The challenges subsequently that I had to face is to deal with the technical department since the company having their own web server in-house and there are no Cpanel settings for me to fiddle around with. The prototype were also built on a different web server and the new web server proposed were on a Linux based web server which I have no idea of how to configure it.

Pushing the project in making our prototype live, I had to bug the technical department on a public holiday Saturday. We then migrated the prototype customized Joomla application and MySQL database onto our new web server and setup the DNS to point to where the new location is. 2 hours later, after several tests and tweaking, the new website is now up and running. I was so relief. We finally made it in making the web portal live before 1 October 2007. I would like to thank the technical department for that. Here’s slideshow of my office along with some hardware tech stuff.

If you are wondering why did I changed my mind from suggesting the use of WordPress to Joomla. One of the main reason is, I found out that the company needed some sort of centralized place to keep the staff updated with internal news. With more than 50 personnel and most probably more people joining in soon, a portal is needed for a lot of internal use plus personnel can access the portal from anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet. We find that Joomla is capable of handling this kind of requirement. However, further testing need to be done to make sure that this project would be a success.

Here’s a screenshot of company’s website. My web designer colleague designed the header:


The Web Portal

The AJAX Admin

The new web portal that we have created is now faster in terms of loading time and functioning a lot easier than before. Alright, I’m off to explore more Joomla extensions that can be utilized by my company. Hhmmm…I could become a Joomla developer by then..hehe..

Writing 70-431 can be tough for students of 350-030 or 220-602 who don’t have the experience of 70-640 or even 640-822 and hence are qualified for 70-236 only.

Tender Document: A Business Opportunity

There are many types of businesses in Malaysia. For businesses that do not rely on day to day sales, there are other options such as to embark on a project basis type or making a deal on binding a contract. However, the most popular type of business opportunity for medium and big corporation is the tender document type. This is because there is big money to be made that can sustained their business for a period of time.

I’ve been introduced to tender document advertisement on the newspaper when I first started working on my third job in downtown KL. At that time, I know nothing about the business that the company is in. 3 weeks on the job, I went to a tender briefing at RTM Angkasapuri with my boss that time. RTM wanted to install a Digital Video Broadcasting system and quite a number of companies showed up to assess the opportunity. I’ve documented the trip on a website I’ve created here.

That was my first tender briefing I’ve attended. The tender document if I’m not mistaken cost RM150. That is cheaper than Multinational, Government Link Companies or Public Listed Companies tender document that can easily sell at RM1000++. During my employment there, I’ve assessed a couple of other tender documents. There are times that I started to become sick of it but then again, I think it’s even better than having to do those tedious computers programming language.

Recently, 3 days after joining my new company, my manager brought me over to KLIA to attend a tender document briefing. The tender briefing was about an initial study for asset tagging management system. It was quite interesting since it is an open tender, there was about 50-60 company representatives who had came to find out what the tender briefing is all about. By the way, if you want find tender documents advertisements and information fast and easy, head over to Tender Direct. For a small fee of RM30 per month, they’ll deliver tender notices by fax, phone and e-mail. I’ve tried it 3 years back while it was still launched and find it very useful if you are a tender document hunter.

Anyway, here’s some snapshots of the tender briefing I attended at Malaysia Airlines Berhad building in KLIA.

MA Technologies Sdn Bhd Front Desk
MA Technologies Front Desk
Malaysia Airport Group Tender Briefing
During the tender briefing

The tender document have been submitted 2 weeks back. I recently called them up and asked about the their progress. So far, they haven’t reviewed any of the tender documents submitted. I guess, we have to wait for a month for them to get back. Well, I’ll just move on to something else I guess.

Lenovo Malaysia Is Looking For Bloggers

I got a phone call this morning from Jenjobs.com and surprisingly, they’re looking for a candidate for a job opportunity and for some reason, I am on their list. If only they had just called me up a couple of months back, I would have probably tried my luck on that job opportunity. So, you want to know what the job opportunity is, here you go:

Blog / Forum Monitoring and Outreach Agent
(Selangor – Petaling Jaya)

Responsibilities:

The outreach agent will be responsible to actively scan the web for customer or industry blogs and forums mentioning Lenovo products and experiences with them, utilizing combinations of generally available, and subscription based tools

  • Monitor activity on several leading third party forums, evaluating volume, content, and sentiment of posted threads related to Lenovo products and services.
  • Log findings and activities to facilitate weekly and monthly reporting.
  • Provide positive / negative sentiment ratings for each logged post / thread.
  • Provide statistics.
  • Following prescribed protocols, selectively respond to blogs, providing offers of assistance, with follow up to resolution via email with the blog owner.
  • Solicit and co-ordinate action plans to resolve through Lenovo sales, fulfillment, service, support, and customer relation teams as appropriate.
  • Assist and support posters on Lenovoblogs and lenovoforums when appropriate and required.

Requirements:
Strong written and spoken English skills are required, and secondary language skills in Chinese or Japanese are a strong benefit. Language skills in Spanish, German, or French would be considered valuable as well.

The candidate is familiar with blogging and may have their own personal blog, and / or is an active participant in an online forum (not necessarily computer related). The ideal candidate is already an active member in one or more forum communities or other social media, i.e. Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, a Wiki, etc.

I can hear the Jenjobs call lady tone of disappointment when I said that I am now not looking for any jobs at the moment since I had just been hired early this month. I guess, her commission just ran away but she e-mailed the details about the job to me anyway and asked me to let my blogging friends about this opportunity. Come to think about it, I don’t really have any close blogging friend that I hang out with, well I guess this blog post will do right?

Some facts about Lenovo, the company that is offering the job opportunity. They are the fourth largest personal computer manufacturer in the world. Incorporated in Hong Kong, Lenovo produces desktop, laptop, server, handheld computers , imaging equipment and mobile phones. Basically, they bought over part of IBM and thus the Lenovo product lines is created.

So, let me just analyzed and anticipate the job that you’ll have to do if let’s say you agreed to accept the job (if you pass the interview of course). The first thing is, you don’t really have to use any paper certificate which means, there are no paper-qualification involved. That’s a good thing right? However, you need to have a good command of English verbally and writings because you’ll need to present your reports to the team. If you have poor communication skills and all you are good at is e-mail, I don’t think you’ll cut out for this job. The second thing is, you’ll definitely be spending countless of hours scouring the web on blogs and forum and find out how the market is. As a blogger, I know blogger does a damn good job in doing research on the web. Normally they are twice the speed of average people when they lay their fingers on the keyboard. It might be fun at first but trust me, you’ll be burned out in a while. Well, that’s just my opinion and how I feel but if you feel you are up for the job, it doesn’t hurt to try. If you get lucky, you might even get a brand new Lenovo laptop for your job blogging needs..I think..hehe..

I did a quick search on Jobstreet, the position Blog / Forum Monitoring and Outreach Agent was advertised last month or contact me if you want to speak with the Jenjobs.com agent that called me.

My Second Career For This Year

I would have never thought this year I would change my job so quickly. I’ve never been comfortable working for a short period of time and making a move to change. Eventhough the pay is little, normally I would hang out a little while before I even consider making a move to change job. However, in one of my previous post an opportunity came by and I had to grab it before it is too late. Then again, all of my previous company that I’ve work with are all small start-up micro company with less than 10 employees.

3 months ago, I met the Managing Director of a company that hired my brother at Enterprise Asia Business Networking 2007 event. After he met me, he was quite interested to get me to join their team. I was a bit hesitant but after some negotiation and looking what they have to offer, I finally decided to let go of my Open Source Web Administrator job (primarily a WordPress modifier) and take up the position of Facilities Management Specialist under the new company. It was a tough decision because I had to let go of the convenience of my 10 minutes drive to work with travel allowance with those fancy dual monitors and trade it with a 50 minutes drive (including hustling the traffic) since my new company is located nearly 50km away from my home.

Nevertheless, I find my new job more exciting and gives me a more broad view of the world. Here’s why:

  1. Today, I got the chance to join a product presentation to a local university. It’s good to be back meeting people and communicate with them. They even give free breakfast after the meeting and it was delicious.
  2. The company has more than 25 personnel, kind of a medium sized company. I even have my own web designer/developer under my belt. Now, there is no need for me to get my hand dirty with web programming language. However, I do have to train the person about Content Management System (CMS), PHP and CSS because she has no clue about it.
  3. My job is more towards marketing so I don’t really have to dig into the technical part and do it myself. I have people that can do the job for me while I just have to focus on research and prepare a presentation for the management.
  4. I get more PAY!

Some of you might find that having to attend meetings and discussion is a kind of boring. Well, it is if you are not the one participating. I had to attend a meeting after office hour yesterday because of today’s presentation. I don’t really favour meeting myself but it sure is better than having to bang your head on a piece of code that wouldn’t work after so many hours of tweaking it. I think the web designer that I’m mentoring is so lucky to have me because I’ve done all the crazy work of creating a website using CMS and now she can learned that in less time than I did on my own. Then again, it’s all about leveraging your effort and most likely, you’ll earn on what you deserve. If not, then you need to seek out other opportunities out there.

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